I have the greatest job in the world.
In my professionally-responsible-adult life, I am a substitute librarian for Salt Lake County Library Services. Which means that I fill-in for librarians in 18 different library branches in the Salt Lake County area. Which also means that I get to know each library and their staff well. In turn, they get to know me well too.
A few weeks ago, I was subbing at the South Jordan Library (South Jordan is a suburb about 20 minutes south of Salt Lake City) when I noticed that they had a stand-up TARDIS and a flier advertising a Doctor Who Party to celebrate the 50th Anniversary. Now – I have a goal to become a full-time librarian and I need experience in order to get a job like that. Which includes not only filling-in at the reference desk, but also helping out with various library programs for kids, teens, and adults. I’ve made it a point to tell all the librarians and library managers that I am up for anything they need help with – all they have to do is ask. So, when the idea of helping out with a Doctor Who themed program came up, I ever-so-casually suggested to the librarian in charge that I would be more than willing to come help (all right – I kind of badgered her into letting me help. In fairness, she asked me for suggestions). The manager gave his okay (just to make sure the whole thing stays kosher with admin and whatnot) and I ended up getting paid to help put together a birthday part for the Doctor.
(Sometimes, I just don’t believe my luck).
Selfies with a Dalek. Somehow, I don’t think this is quite how the Time War ended.
I had my part all planned out. I had my Tenth Doctor costume, I had a bag full of DVDs, books, magazine and CDs to put out on display (complete with Dalek and Adipose action figures). Another member of the library staff put together a YouTube playlist of videos (both official and fan-made) to play while the activities were going on. In fact – here’s the playlist she put together!
As far as games – we had a trivia contest and “Match the Doctors to Their Numbers” game (which is probably going to be all kinds of screwed up once we get the full explanation of John Hurt’s Not!Doctor/War Doctor, but never mind that). There was a guessing game where we taped a slip of paper with a character’s name onto someone’s back and they had to guess who that character was by asking yes or no questions. One poor kid got stuck trying to guess Prime Minister Harriet Jones. I finally had to give him a clue, which was “We know who you are!” Still took him a while.
You ever get bored one night and think “This could be a little more sonic”?
Kids could make their own sonic screwdrivers. And, of course, there were photo opportunities with a Dalek and the TARDIS (I couldn’t resist getting my own version of the Paul-McGann-hugging-a-Dalek photo).
The whole thing was pretty straightforward, but Whovians can never resist a party. Nor can we turn down a chance to debate and argue our favorite Doctors, companions, monsters, episodes, planets, catchphrase – whatever we feel like discussing. We don’t much care about age groups, either. I spoke with one girl (probably mid-teens) who’d never seen any Peter Davison stories, though she said she’d seen at least one story of each of the other Doctors (except Paul McGann – but I told her she needed to watch the TV Movie). I told her a couple of my favorites (which, you all should be proud that I limited myself to two or three) and that I knew for a fact that the library owned copies of those, so she could check them out!
Speaking of kids – the costumes for this were amazing! I don’t quite feel comfortable posting pictures of kids on my blog without parental permission, but trust me – there were some creative young Whovians at this thing. It was really tough to judge the costume contest because there were probably three or four in each category that I would have happily awarded prizes to.
There was one little boy who ended up winning second place in his age group for the costume contest with his Empty Child costume. He was probably three or four, but he could do an awesome “Are You My Mummy?” voice (I wish I’d gotten a recording of it). Another girl dressed as the Queen of Years from “The Rings of Akhaten” and she won first place in her age group. There were plenty of Doctors – even one Femme!Eleven with, instead of a bow tie, she had a string of red pearls which looked surprisingly good! She won second place in her age group and ended up with movie tickets to see “The Day of the Doctor” in theaters on November 25. There was also a girl dressed as the TARDIS, which consisted of a cardboard box with blue paper and the panels outlined in marker – she won first place in her group. We had a couple of Elevens with mops and fezzes – one with his very own New Paradigm Dalek. His Dalek and my 1966 “Power of the Daleks” action figure got into it a little bit – but I am not above taking on a ten-year-old’s Skittle Dalek. And there was one kid who I swear was dressed as the Second Doctor (black jacket, bow tie, blue shirt), but he insisted he was Eleven. Oh well – I guess that just proves where Matt Smith got his inspiration, right? (this kid’ll learn when he gets older).
The party culminated in blue-frosted cupcakes and a rousing rendition of “Happy Birthday” to the Doctor – which was kind of a last-minute addition to the festivities, but it worked surprisingly well. Then, we all dug into piles and piles of cupcakes – and when I was working the reference desk afterward, I could spot everyone who’d been the party because the cupcake frosting had dyed everyone’s mouth blue!
The party was a huge success, everyone had a great time – even people who hadn’t come to the library specifically for this event peeked in and seemed to enjoy themselves. And I got some great ideas for my own version of a program like this. I needn’t wait for a 50th Anniversary to put together a Doctor Who party when I become a full-time librarian. In fact – I’m certain that I won’t.
This article is reposted here in its entirety from “cj’s notebook” and can also be found here.